N690 Vs. M390 Knives: Main Differences And Features

Just be honest, can you go a day without using a knife in your life?

I am sure you can’t. So isn’t it so obvious to remain cautious while choosing a knife? If you are asked to answer N690 vs. M390 knives which one is better, can you answer that?

Well, then this write-up is to do that task for you.

First, let’s get to know about the key differences between N690 and M390 knives.

Last update on 2022-09-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A Quick Comparison of N690 And M390

Don’t have much time to know the difference between these two knives?

Well, then the following tabular format of the key differences can serve you really well. From it, you will be able to differentiate the suitable one for you.

Let’s dive in.

Steel TypeIn N690 the stainless steel is 440c. M390 has high wear-resistant stainless steel.
Elements in SteelThe mention-worthy elements here are with some molybdenum and cobalt.
It also has high amounts of chromium.
It has a good quantity of carbon, chrome, and vanadium.
Sharpening Blade steel remains sharp for a long time.Sharpening can require a significant effort from your side.
UsageA great choice for outdoor knife-like hunting, camping, etc.It is a suitable pick for kitchen usage.
Stress toleranceIt can tolerate a significant amount of stress.It is more stress-tolerant compared to N690.
Edge retentionIt doesn’t require frequent sharpening.It requires regular sharpening of the edges to keep doing all regular works.
Hardness and toughnessIt has a perfect blend of both.It is also comparatively less but it is enough for regular use.
Easiness of sharpening Since sharpening requirement comes after a long time.
It requires a professional sharpening tool and professional skills to do the job.
The need for sharpening is regular, and the process is comparatively easier.  

Key Differences Between N690 And M390 Knives

N690 and M390 knifes

Now let’s get to know about the already mentioned differences;

  • Steel type

Both the knives are forged in steel. Of course, it is made of a combination of different elements. The quality of both steels is great. For N690 the steel is 440c.

On the other hand, M390 has higher wear-resistant stainless steel than the other one. Read my other article on the differences between K390 and M390 knives to understand more about the M390 knife.

  • Elements in steel

As is being already mentioned, the main material steel is made of a composition of different elements.

For N690, there are some significant elements like molybdenum, cobalt, and a very high amount of chromium. 

Whereas, M390 has a good quantity of carbon, chrome, and vanadium. The quality and cost of the steel is better and a bit higher.

  • Sharpening the edges

Sharpening the knives can become tiresome work for you.

Here is the takeaway from it, for N690 the blade remains sharp for a longer time. Whereas, for M390 it will be totally different.

You may need to sharpen the edge of this knife several times for frequent use.

  • Usage

This one is one of the significant key differences between N690 and M390.

With all the features it has, N690 is mostly required for outside usage like camping, hunting, and so on.

On the contrary, M390 is perfect for the kitchen and some other regular usage that doesn’t require much stress.

  • Stress tolerance

Both the knives are significantly stressed tolerant. But if we compare, then we would find that M390 is more stress-tolerant than N690.

  • Edge retention

When it comes to edge retention, N690 requires a lot less sharpening than M390. So the edge retention of N690 is higher.

  • Hardness and toughness

Here, N690 again stays ahead of M390. The hardiness and toughness of N690 is much higher. It makes it perfectly suitable for outside usage.

  • Easiness of sharpening 

N690 doesn’t require frequent sharpening but the sharpening requires sophisticated tools and expert hands.

On the other hand, M390 needs frequent sharpening for uninterrupted service. But, the process is way easier than N690.

Quick Summary of The Differences

M390 knife
M390 Knife
  • Both are made of different types of steel types.
  • Different elements made the steels of these knives.
  • Both knives require different frequency for sharpening.
  • One is for outside and another is perfect for outside usage.
  • Stress tolerance level also differs a bit.
  • N690 has more edge retention capability.
  • N690 has more hardness and toughness.
  • It is easier to sharp M390.

Common Similarities Of N690 And M390 Knives

There are some similarities as well between both knives. 


Now let’s have a look at it.

  • Similar tools

Both the models are knives from the same manufacturer and serve almost the same purpose.

You can’t differentiate these tools from each other in any way.

  • Wear resistant

Both steels are wear-resistant. But M390 is a bit more wear-resistant than the N690.

  • Same manufacturer

Both the knives N690 and M390 were produced by the same manufacturer Bohler. This is another common factor between these two. Though both of these come with different attributes.

  • Easy sharpening

If we reconsider the sharpening process, apart from needing the sophisticated tools and expert hands it is really easy for N690 as well.

  • Corrosion resistant

Bohler N690 and M390 are indeed significantly corrosion resistant. The reason behind it is that both of the knives contain a high amount of chromium during their composition.

Quick Summary Of The Similarities

  • Both the models are similar kinds of tool.
  • Both are wear resistant.
  • N690 and M390 both knives are from the same producer.
  • Sharpening process is easy for both N690 and M390 knives. 
  • Both the knives are significantly corrosion resistant for containing significant amount of chromium.

Which One Stands Out According To Us?

Now that you know all the similarities and differences between N690 and M390, you can pick the one according to your need and usage.

But if you question me, I would rather pick N690 as it seems more versatile. Again, M390 will cost you more money than N690. Another point to consider.

However, both of these tools are manufactured keeping different needs in mind. So, it is up to you to pick the suitable one to serve you the purpose of the purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is N690 steel comparable to?

N690 is a very popular knife among the citizens of Europe. Also, the knife makers prefer to keep it in their stores. The steel of it is often compared to VG-10 or 154CM for its durability and good corrosion-resistant properties.

Does M390 steel rust?

M390 steel is significantly resistant to rusting and corrosive materials. You can polish it, and it would look new. There is no way such high-quality steel would rust. The steel mostly remains astonishingly visually appealing for that.

Is M390 better than S35VN?

M390 and S35VN both have differences only in two aspects. Those are edge retention and ease of sharpening. Otherwise, M390 and S35VN both have good quality steel.

Wrapping Things Up!

While thinking about having knives, picking the right one could be crucial.

When it comes to picking N690 vs. M390, now you know all the aspects associated with it. At the same time, the purpose for which you are reading this review. 

Pick the one that serves you the best, by keeping all the attributes in mind.

It will not be very difficult for you right? 

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